Wednesday, August 23, 2017

WWU is Boring; Let's Talk About the Solar Eclipse Instead!

By now I'm sure everyone is eclipsed out, but I wanted to write about my experience with it, and why I think the solar eclipse was such a good thing for our country at this point in time.

I didn't think to look for the special viewing glasses until the weekend and by then it was too late - no one seemed to have any for sale in our town.  Also, the weather forecast was predicted to be partly cloudy, so I didn't think we'd get to see it.  But Monday morning we had mostly clear blue skies, so Allie, who was still home, searched online for how to make an eclipse viewer, and before you knew it, she'd crafted our handy-dandy cereal box viewer:
I love that we went old-school with this!

We watched the NASA feed online and saw totality in Idaho, which was pretty amazing.  We kept going outside to test our viewer, and finally, we started to see the eclipse inside of it:
 
(click on the picture to see it better)
You stood with your back to the sun; the image would come through the pinprick in the foil and project onto the bottom of the box, where you would see it via the hole cut in the top.

I got a fantastic look at it when it went behind the clouds - I glanced up and saw it for a few seconds!  Because it was in the clouds, I took a couple of pictures with my phone (I'd heard that taking a picture of it directly could damage your camera lens) - and I got it in one of the shots:
(again, click to see it)

I have to say, this was pretty exciting to see in person - and shortly after we started seeing it, Sam started texting pictures as well (he lives in North Carolina, so they had something like 94% totality).  Here's my favorite of the pictures Sam sent:
He has an eclipse nose ring!

After we were finished, I went on Facebook and saw posts from friends all over the country who were sharing their pictures.  It was such a great feeling to realize that for once, most of my fellow countrymen were united in a positive experience - after all, what negative thing can you possibly say about a total solar eclipse, except that you might have had bad weather and couldn't see it?  With all of the divisiveness and negativity that the United States has been going through this year, it felt good see the collective enthusiasm for something so pure in nature.

Allie and I

I got to spend the eclipse with one of my kadults in person, and with another via text.  I got to see many people reveling in the beauty of the show that science and nature provided for free - and I was aware enough to appreciate it.  I needed this.  I think our country did, too.

15 comments:

  1. As fun as it was to see the eclipse, I loved seeing all the folks from the hospital where I work outside, sharing the glasses! It was just the coolest experience.

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    1. That was another thing I loved, seeing the pictures of people wearing glasses, all looking in the same direction. :)

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  2. I made a box viewer as well! Our HR dept. got their hands on one pair of the glasses that they left downstairs for anyone in the building to use but I wanted to try the old fashioned way. Everyone ended up using it along with the glasses and said they couldn't believe how fun it was. Mind you, most of these people are zygotes and couldn't believe when I told them this is how we learned to do it way back in the day.

    I agree that it was so fun to see friends and family from all over sharing this experience. Brought a little humanity back to the craziness of the past couple weeks.

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    1. Humanity, yes. That's what I felt, too. LOL on the zygotes being wowed by the box viewer!

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  3. This was so fun to read, and I agree, I think a lot of people around our country thought that it was a great unifier.

    Here's my eclipse experience. I didn't know exactly when it was coming, but I decided to not go outside to look at it, because I was pretty sure I'd look at the sun, just like I did when I was a kid. So I was in on my bed doing my exercises, looking out the window just like always, and I noticed it getting darker and darker! I don't know what percentage we were at, but it never got night-time dark. But just when it was the darkest, all the roosters started crowing and the dogs started howling!

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    1. I know what you mean, it was hard to not look up! But how interesting that your roosters crowed and the dogs howled!

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  4. I was talking to a family member Saturday and saying exactly that - it's so nice to have everyone talking about something (mostly?) nuetral and not political. Our country DOES need that.

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    1. I didn't know we needed this as badly as we did until it happened.

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  5. Thanks for sharing how Allie made the cereal box viewer. I was wondering how that was going to work. When the eclipse happened here, it was just like a cloudy day so not much excitement over it here. I did watch the live NASA feed from South Carolina and couldn't believe how dark it got. It was nice that our country was all engrossed in something that was bigger than ourselves.

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    1. You know, until we read the directions I thought you were supposed to aim the box directly at the sun - glad we didn't do that!

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  6. I have to say I have never wanted to look at the sun so bad LOL! It was hard not to. John made viewers for us with cardboard tubes and they worked great. We had about 70% totality here. It was really weird to be outside during coverage and not need sunglasses. Everything just seemed dim even though there wasn't a cloud in sight. Very cool. We are going to be about an hour or two driving distance from full coverage at the next eclipse - pretty excited about that!

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    1. Haha, I know what you mean about wanting to look at the sun! Maybe by the next eclipse, they'll have developed even better glasses for the viewing. We will be in a near-totality area right here, so I'm super excited about 2024, too!

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  7. We were fortunate that one of our kadults lives in the path of totality, so we camped out at her house for the eclipse. We were on campus at Oregon State University and hung out on the quad with a great crowd. I was a little skittish about looking at it even with the eclipse glasses, but am so glad I did! When the sun finally winked out, all the street lights and the library lights came on and everybody cheered - it was a real goosebump moment. Princess then followed up with an eclipse themed brunch that included bagel "suns" with cream cheese topped with Canadian bacon "moons". I agree that it was nice to focus on something besides gloom and doom, though I confess to having a niggling worry that millions of us Americans lined ourselves up quite nicely if anybody wanted to do something dastardly - see the ridiculous things my brain cooks up? Anyway, I love that ya'll went all old school on it with your cereal box, and that were able to share with the family :-)

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    1. What a perfect opportunity to see the full eclipse! Thank you so much for sharing your goosebump moment; that had to have been so cool to experience! Your daughter's themed brunch sounds perfect, too. And I'm glad your brain's worry didn't come true, eek!

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  8. That must have been so special. Of course we have seen it on the news here and I have seen some amazing photos. Not going to experience this in my lifetime. Next time it's here I am long gone already.
    It was even on the news here that americans for once had something positive to share that had nothing to do with politics.

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